Joseph Herald

Recording & Mixing Engineer

Joseph Herald on SoundBetter

I am a Certified Audio Engineer with over 7 years of professional experience in both studio and live sound environments. I've worked at the legendary Gravity Studios under the mentorship of Doug McBride, and also at Chicago’s premiere music venue, Lincoln Hall under the mentorship of Paul Massaro.

By trade I am an Audio Engineer. My passion is recording and mixing music.

Professionally I record, mix, engineer & produce bands both live and in the studio, as well as capture location audio and design post production for commercial & film. I've been doing this indepently for over 7 years

For more info about my company, Smooth River Studios, check out my website:

In my free time I enjoy playing music, soccer and traveling.

If you would like to know more or wish to collaborate on a creative project, the best way to reach me is via email:

Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.

Interview with Joseph Herald

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: I always take pride in my work, and with each project, I always learn something new and get slightly better, so I would say I am most proud of whatever I have done most recently.

  3. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  4. A: Mixing and mastering an album for the rock band Mozey.

  5. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  6. A: I am sure there are a lot of great engineers on here.

  7. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  8. A: Analog is great, but I work with digital just for the fact that it is so close in sound quality and is far more practical. As a business owner, if I were to invest in 10's of thousands of dollars in analog equipment, I would never make it back. For about 10% of the price, you can buy emulating plugins that some of the best engineers in the world could turn their chair around and not hear the difference between the two.

  9. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  10. A: That they will be satisfied with the final mix.

  11. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  12. A: The fact that I am doing what I love, working with musicians and being creative.

  13. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  14. A: If they can hear samples of tracks I have done, which I am happy to provide.

  15. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  16. A: That anyone with a laptop and Pro Tools can make a good sounding mix.

  17. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  18. A: 1. How many songs? 2. How many/what kind of instruments? 3. What is your budget for the project? 4. Can you describe the sound you are going for? 5. How are you planning to release the tracks?

  19. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  20. A: This depends on whether I am being hired for tracking or mixing/mastering, but always be prepared & know what your objective is. Also, it really helps to have all of the tracks organized if you are sending them off to a mix engineer.

  21. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  22. A: Macbook Pro, a badass Interface w/ really nice preamps, a set of monitors, a good mic, acoustic treatment for my desert island shack I would have to build and work out of.

  23. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  24. A: I began recording my own music when I was 14 on a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder. I quickly realized I had not only a passion, but a knack for the recording process. I spent the rest of my teenage years teaching myself as much as possible, but knew that I needed a structured program to master the craft. I went to Middle Tennesse State University to study Recording Industry Management for two years, and after applying for and being granted a scholarship I opted to transfer to Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy where I completed their Recording Arts Program. After completing school, I went on to Intern at Gravity Studios, and went on to be Assistant Engineer on sessions. I simultaneously interned doing live sound at Lincoln Hall, where I worked with bands like Portugal. The Man, Maps & Atlases, Girls, to name a few. I then went on to start my own recording studio business, Smooth River, LLC and have been independently recording, mixing & doing live sound ever since.

  25. Q: How would you describe your style?

  26. A: Professional, passionate, creative, meticulous.

  27. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  28. A: I would love to work with any artist that is independent, ambitious and on their way up.

  29. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  30. A: Not doing anything drastic in the mixing process, as this can quickly ruin a track. The art is in adding subtle layers of eq, compression, etc. which only comes with experience.

  31. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  32. A: Rock, Blues, Jazz, Indie, Folk, Classical

  33. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  34. A: Mixing in Pro Tools, and making sure that the client is satisfied with the overall mix - never compromising.

  35. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  36. A: Adding subtle layers of eq, compression, limiting, reverb, delays, and other processing with proven techniques that will bring the track to life and make the track radio ready. I am happy to provide before/after samples of mixes I have done compared to the raw tracks.

  37. Q: What's your typical work process?

  38. A: Find out specifically what kind of sound the client is trying to achieve, and use my expertise to achieve it. I always put the creative vision of the client first, and do my best with the tools I have to make it happen.

  39. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  40. A: I have an mixing station where I run Pro Tools with the Waves Platinum Plug-in bundle via a Black Lion Audio modified Focusrite Interface with Yamaha HS7 monitors.

  41. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  42. A: My hero producers are Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, U2, Beck, R.E.M.) and Danger Mouse (Black Keys, Broken Bells, Portugal. The Man)

  43. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  44. A: Tracking, mixing, mastering, live sound recording

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